Cold War tank returned to former glory on Kent roundabout

The tank was originally placed on the roundabout as a memorial to the British Armed Services, which are based nearby. The British Army Reserve Centre in Ashford, Kent, south east England is home to numerous divisions including the 133 Field Company Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

The roundabout is on the junction of Templer Way and Chart Road, and has been home to the tank since the late 1990s. Over the past 15 years it had given the junction its local name of ‘tank’ roundabout.

During its service, the tank was in operation in Germany during the Cold War. It was also used in the first Gulf War in the early 1990s as part of Operation Granby. Its final mission was in Bosnia where the tank served alongside United Nations forces.

From their base nearby, commanding officer Major Phil Linehan could see‘tank’ roundabout from his office window, and could see that the tank was getting into worse disrepair over the years and even rotting in places. So he finally spoke with the local council about what could be done to restore it.

The council agreed to its removal and restoration and the tank was taken to the nearby Army Reserve Centre for repairs by the engineers themselves earlier this year, the Kent Online reports.

It had been hoped the tank would be restored by the time of the Remembrance Sunday services in November; however repairs were more extensive than the engineers had originally thought. Plants and overgrowth had made the tank its home, along with a family of field mice which had to be carefully rehoused.

Repairs were finally completed this weekend and the tank was transported back to its home on the roundabout. The engineers hope the armoured vehicle will now be in good condition to survive the next half century.

It is common in England for junctions to be intersected by roundabouts, which keep the flow of traffic constantly moving rather than using traffic lights. Roundabouts across the UK have become features, many with manicured trees, plants, flowers and some acting as memorials just like ‘tank’ roundabout.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE